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Smells Sexy

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Elliot discovers the side effects of the Female Variant 5 Form

"You vampires. Did anybody ever tell you the whole smelling people thing's a little gross?"

This is the The Nose Knows version of Mr. Fanservice / Hello, Nurse! / Ms. Fanservice. It is the reason why humans invented perfume and cologne. A character with Super Senses will probably be attracted to a person by their smell, especially if they've got some doggish attributes. Both vampires and werewolves are likely to note that their victim/lover smells good.

In Real Life, countless species use pheromones for communication, especially for identifying when its members are able to reproduce. In fiction, this is a little more explicit... a character will 'smell sexy', and often there will be a list of exactly what that character smells like. Expect a man to lovingly bury his face in the girl's hair, or nuzzling her neck as he tells her how wonderful she smells. Often, this calls back to baser, more bestial desires and needs, although it can be 'pure and romantic'.


May be related to Love Is in the Air, if the 'love flu' is coming off of one person. See Aroused by Their Voice for when a character's voice arouses other characters. May involve Perverted Sniffing.


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  • As already mentioned, this Trope is the basis behind cologne and perfume, and thus is behind many often artsy ads for cologne and perfume, as well as The Man Your Man Could Smell Like and other Old Spice commercials.
  • Also the basis for a shampoo named Gee, Your Hair Smells Terrific.

    Anime and Manga 
  • A weird version is present in the second Rebuild of Evangelion movie: Mari Makinami likes Shinji's scent... because he smells like LCL. She also mentions that she doesn't mind the scent of Eva-02, even though it smells like "the previous pilot", Asuka, perhaps indicating there's something special about Shinji.
  • At one point in the Gunsmith Cats manga, Minnie-May Hopkins explains to her boyfriend (who works with explosives) why she loves him so much: he smells like gunpowder.
  • This apparently a trait of gods in Noragami - Even scruffy drifter gods like Yato smell really nice.
  • In Kyo Kara Maoh! episode 96 Yuuri mentions again how beautiful he thinks Sara is and thinks that he smells nice.
  • Tokyo Ghoul uses a variant of this. Kaneki is noted to have a very unusual scent, thanks to his rather unique nature and having received organs from a female Ghoul. As such, his scent is a strange blend of Human and Ghoul as well as Male and Female. This earns him a Stalker with a Crush in the form of Tsukiyama, who repeatedly engages in Perverted Sniffing.
  • When exposed to alcohol, Chiya of Urara Meirocho releases wild pheromones that attract and put in heat animals and humans equally, it works with the same sex because she successfully attracted Koume and Nono.
  • In the first chapters of Classi9, Mozart is very fond of Ren's "oriental scent" and clings to her or smells her hair whenever he can.
  • Used as a Hand Wave in Kanokon to explain why Chizuru and Nozomu are all over Kouta - due to having recently moved to the city from the countryside, he 'smells like forests', which apparently attracts Kitsune and wolf-spirits in equal measure.
  • Nanachi of Made In Abyss. Apparently, her fur has a sweet and pleasant scent. Just ask Reg.

    Comic Books 
  • In The Smurfs comic book story "The Wild Smurf", Wild briefly smells Smurfette and then suddenly has the hots for her.
  • The Purple Man smells like whatever he wants to smell like... so you do whatever he wants you to do.
  • Wolverine's son Daken has pheromones that he uses to manipulate people.

     Fan Fic 
  • In Dirty Sympathy, Klavier is comforted by the smell of Apollo's cheap violet cologne. Played with when Daryan smells Klavier's hair, he seems like that he's enjoying the smell of Klavier's expensive saffron cologne, but then it turns into something else.
  • In the All-American Girl universe, aroused Equestrian mares emit a pheromone called phenethylamine, causing them to smell of dark chocolate.
  • In the Empath: The Luckiest Smurf story "Papa's Big Crush," Papa Smurf pursues Smurfette following his Hulking Out moment because he can smell her pheromones.
  • In the Star Trek: Enterprise Parody Fic "Farce Contact", the female Vulcan's dislike of how humans smell is explained by humans smelling like a rutting Vulcan male, which can be smelt for vast distances by the sensitive nose of a Vulcan female, and is therefore known as the pong farr.
  • In the Miraculous Ladybug fic Lady and the Tomcat, Marinette learns that, thanks to her bond with Tikki, she has a "mating cycle" (despite the same bond making her temporarily infertile) in which she gives off pheromones that will make people around her more relaxed, but will have a much more intense effect on her partner Chat Noir. "If he's around you too much during this time, it'll set off the mating hormones in him too. And those will reflect back at you, and the connection will drift back and forth until it's painfully hard to manage." Unfortunately, while Ladybug can alert Chat to this and tell him to stay away from her outside of battle, the two have no idea that their civilian identities are in the same class.
    Tikki: You two can fight akumas together, but long periods of time where he's exposed to the pheromones will be the most detrimental. Like if you two were to sit near one another for an extended period of time.
    Tikki: Exactly.
    • In Heat uses the same premise, though here the mating cycle comes with more intense symptoms even if the two don't avoid each other.
  • Implied in All This Sh*t is Twice As Weird when Cullen has to remove his armor during the Wicked Grace game. The Lord Inquisitor's Big Brother Instinct kicks in and he covers the Lady Inquisitor's head with Cullen's discarded surcoat, much to her annoyance, though she consoles herself somewhat by noting that "at least it smells nice."

    Films — Animated 

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In Pitch Black, Riddick appears to be preparing to shank the new female captain from the shadows, but he simply cuts off a piece of her hair to give it a sniff when she isn't looking.
  • In Ocean's Thirteen, Linus uses a powerful pheromone that makes Abigail Sponder go crazy for him, successfully distracting her and buying time for the other team members.
  • In Gregory's Girl, Gregory uses this to describe Dorothy to Andy, much to his confusion.
  • A variation: in Legally Blonde, Elle's resume is printed on pink, perfumed paper to make it more noticeable to prospective employers. Her assistant professor (whom she later marries) loves the smell.
  • The Way He Looks includes a scene where Leo masturbates while wearing and sniffing Gabriel's sweater.

  • Trope Codifier is arguably Perfume, the 1985 novel by Patrick Suskind. The book's main character is Jean-Baptise Grenouille, an unwanted orphan with a powerful sense of smell. Over the course of the story, he becomes obsessed with capturing and bottling the scent of a woman, turning into a creepy serial killer of virgins. Just before he is executed, he pours the perfume that he has made on himself, throwing the crowd gathered to watch his execution into a lusty orgy. The book was adapted into a film by Tom Tykwer, starring Ben Whishaw, Dustin Hoffman and Rachel Hurd-Wood.
    • Actually, he only used a single drop of his perfect perfume at the execution. Later, using the whole bottle at once causes him to be torn limb from limb and devoured by beggars.
  • In Dragon Blood, Tisala sniffs Ward's clothes after he has gone away to let himself be imprisoned in an insane asylum where no one has escaped, yet. She feels a bit silly about it, noting that he probably doesn't like her back, and she's behaving like a creep. (Also, there is no need to get sentimental about his being away, as she of course plans to break him out as soon as she has recovered from the severe injuries that led to him giving her his bedroom to sleep in in the first place.)
  • Bella in Twilight. It's worth noting that Bella feels the same way back at Edward and, to a lesser extent, all the other vampires. It is implied that this holds true for all vampires. Except with werewolves, in which case there's a mutual inversion.
  • Perrin in the Wheel of Time series, due to the fact that he is a Wolfbrother.
  • Anita Blake: Prior to the turbo-slut phase, werewolves and vampires were always telling Anita they could "smell her lust."
  • In The Princess Diaries, Mia likes the smell of Michael's neck.
  • Batted around lightly in the Star Trek: The Next Generation novel Metamorphosis. Data, fully transformed into a human by an alien quest-ritual, finds himself romantically involved with a female OC. Smelling her hair during an embrace, the narrative describes the android!Data part of his mind cataloguing pheromones, while the human!Data part angrily demands the right to simply enjoy the scent.
  • Amortentia, the love potion from the Harry Potter novels, smells like whatever the individual likes to smell most.
    • When smelling said love potion for the first time, Harry picked up a scent he himself couldn't quite place, but the description given by the narration matches Ginny Weasley, making this an early indication that (earlier crushes notwithstanding) they're soul mates. Similarly, Hermione listed three things that she could smell in the potion but stopped herself from revealing the fourth; according to Word of God, the one she wouldn't mention was Ron Weasley's hair.
  • In A Brother's Price, the day after they make Jerin a Technical Virgin both Jerin and Ren independently catch the scent of the other on the nightshirts each of them were wearing and bury their noses in the cloth. Ren vows not to wash that shirt. Jerin calls himself a silly boy and puts his into the laundry.
  • The Sky People. Tessa of the Cloud Mountain People can scent that human explorer Marc Vitrac is attracted to her, and is puzzled why he can't scent the same about her.
  • In Shadows of the Empire, from the Star Wars expanded universe, Prince Xizor has the ability to emit pheromones at will to attract females. He attempts it with Princess Leia, with only a partial measure of success.
  • Dora Wilk Series has werewolves and vampires gifted with powerful sense of smell, leading to this being a problem for Szelma and Dora. Szelma blames it on her werecat-induced cat pheromones, while Dora's issue stems from her being a fertility witch.
  • In a Danganronpa Zero scene, Ryouko revels in the scent left on Yasuke's bedsheets.
  • In the Song of Songs from The Bible, the Shulamite and her Beloved both compliment how each other's fragrances turn them on.

    Live-Action TV 
  • On Gossip Girl, Dan says he couldn't possibly have feelings for Blair Waldorf, and then sheepishly adds "But, you know, she does smell nice..."
  • In The Sentinel, Blair tells Jim that this is the basis behind two people having "chemistry" together. Jim, of course, was head-over-heels for a woman specifically because she smelled so good.
  • On Frasier, Niles fetishises the smell of Daphne's hair.
  • One of the odder examples: in one episode of Blood Ties, Henry is apparently attracted to the smell of death and can't stop smelling Vicki after she returns from a funeral home.
  • Played with on The Big Bang Theory, when Sheldon moans somewhat amorously after inhaling the scent of new comic books.
    • Also towards Sheldon: Amy Farrah Fowler says he "smells like a sexy toddler" while she is very tipsy. Apparently he smells like talc.
  • Captain Jack Harkness of Torchwood has 51st century pheromones.
  • In The 10th Kingdom, Wolf gets really enthusiastic about Virginia's smell, which is part this trope, part to do with a different appetite.
  • In Oz Keller once notes in "A Cock and Balls Story" that his boyfriend Beecher "Smells Sexy". (the smell being Beecher's father's aftershave).
  • In the Star Trek universe, Klingon females are shown sniffing their mates as foreplay, such as in TNG "The Emissary" and the Voyager episode "Blood Fever".
    • Seven of Nine does this to B'Elanna when she is possessed by the personality of a Klingon male in the Star Trek: Voyager episode "Infinite Regress".
    • Averted with T'Pol in Star Trek: Enterprise. Apparently human males smell awful to the sensitive nose of a Vulcan female. How this reconciles with her Ship Tease with Trip and Archer is never mentioned.
  • Averted in Rome. Cleopatra has to have a child with a Roman for political reasons, so her servant Charmian selects Lucius Vorenus for her.
    Cleopatra: So red! (sniffs at him in disapproval)
    Charmian: Leather, olives... Not so bad.
    Cleopatra: (grumpily) He'll do.

  • Gackt has gone on many a Japanese TV show hosted by men, only to have them remark how beautiful they find him and how good he smells.
  • Lonestar's "Amazed."
  • Mentioned in Ed Sheeran's "Shape Of You" where he says that his bedsheets still smell like the girl who was in it the previous night.

    Newspaper Comics 
  • One FoxTrot strip had Paige trying out a new perfume specially formulated to attract teenage males. The scents were based on pizza toppings.

    Tabletop Games 
  • "Tailored Pheromones" bioware in Shadowrun.
  • The "Enhanced Pheromones" biomod in Eclipse Phase.
  • In Rocket Age some Martian castes appear to have modified pheromones to make them more attractive, more persuasive and commanding, or both. The Royal and Priest castes tend to have the full package, while the Courtesan caste appear to only have pheremones designed to enhance their attractiveness, although given how often they seem to rise to power...
  • In the second edition of Exalted, Lunars have a Charm that lets them invoke this trope.

    Video Games 
  • Factors into one of the potential romance arcs in Story of Seasons (2014); Klaus, one of the male love interests, is a perfumist by trade and will give perfume to a female character who romances him, mostly so he can enjoy how she responds to the smell.
  • An innocent variant can be found in The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword, regarding the shawl Zelda made for Link to use in the goddess ceremony. The regular text describes and explains the purpose of the garment; then, in smaller letters (as though indicating a quieter voice), it adds, " smells nice too."

    Web Animation 

  • Candi from the webcomic of the same name explicitly listed this as the main reason she stayed with her boyfriend, even when he acted like a jerk.
  • In El Goonish Shive, which currently provides the page picture, the Female Variant 5 form setting on the Transformation Ray Gun causes the person zapped with it to smell sexy.
  • PvP. Reggie rebukes Jade's flirty sister Miranda, claiming that her feminine charms won't work on him because he's blind. Miranda walks off-panel, and Reggie says, "Damn, she smells good."
  • In Digger, Boneclaw Mother makes a crude comment about one of the tribe's younger males. When reminded by Shadebones that she's blind, Boneclaw Mother simply replies, "He smells adorable."
  • Keychain of Creation has Marena, who has 'smelling good' as one of her potential powers.
  • In Girl Genius, this is played with: the Jägers, a cadre of monster-men already noted for being rambunctious in love and war, keep claiming that the protagonist Agatha 'smells nice', implying that they are Loveable Sex Maniacs. Most of them are, but what they're actually smelling in this case is that she is a long-lost heir to the dynasty of Mad Scientists to whom the Jägerkin owe fealty.

    Western Animation 

  • Truth in Television, apparently. Scientific investigation has revealed that women actually CAN pick potential 'mates' based on smell - indeed, they can subconsciously 'smell' good genes. The attraction by smell is actually from having dissimilar types of antibodies, with nature preferring dissimilar ones for healthier offspring. Guys can do this too. Although, this sense is limited in modern humans, considering how we mostly use vision (appearance) and/or higher cognitive functions (like similar interests, intelligence or wealth) in choosing mates. Scent can also indicate arousal and illnesses.
  • Also, interestingly, this may explain why women wear their hair longer than men do. The pheromone glands in humans are located on the back of the neck. The long hair acts as a wick to spread the pheromones and thus attract the attention of a mate. This also explains a bit of the romantic hair-snuffling mentioned above; men are known to be attracted by the scent of a woman's hair (shampoo, etc.) but it's the pheromones there that really make it chemically addictive in the male brain.
  • More explicitly, pheromone glands are also located in the groin area. It is strongly believed that this is to make a person more enticing to their sexual partner. Indeed, queries have found that rather than being unappealing—as many women fear—most men find the aroma coming from this region to be very arousing.
  • There is also a theory that kissing as a gesture of affection and/or passion arose from smelling scent glands located on either side of our noses, and the actual mouth contact grew out of that.